The music started, the Square Dance had begun at an RV park hall in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Ron, the dance caller, directed the steps of the dancers; "Bow to your partner and your corner too; circle left.” My corner lady, a stranger to me, crashed into me.
Ron called out, "No, Suzanna, your other left."
The Road Works. It was raining, we were forced off the highway because I was in the wrong lane due to road works. Learning to drive in England has its problems in North America. I then took a Texas “U” turn, not the planned left turn, ending up back on the highway going the wrong way.
“One more try,” I said to Linda as I turned off the highway and headed south. We arrived at the dance hall only ten minutes late.
Square Dances are Social Events, a time to meet friends and strangers. But they weren’t all strangers?
The young lady, Susanna, who had crashed into me, was vaguely familiar. I knew her, but from where? Who was she? Why did I know her? Was Linda watching? My memory is getting worse.
Susanna Took the Chair Next to Linda as we sat out the next dance.
Suddenly Susanna said, “You're Malcolm and Linda, Michelle's parents. I'm Suzy, your daughter Michelle’s friend from New Brunswick, Canada. Michelle and I lost touch when you moved to Ontario twenty-seven years ago.”
Linda and Suzy were laughing at memories, the looks said it was clearly at my expense.
The Birthday Cake. With Suzy's mother's help, the girls had made a birthday cake for me.
With six kids, it was a party every night at our house. After supper the girls provided the cake with candles for me. The cake was covered in icing and very decorative. I was impressed and thought what wonderful girls these were. I got that wrong.
Small plates were provided, and I was handed the cake knife.
I plunged the knife into the center of the cake, and it bounced back out. Everyone was laughing, they all knew this was a real foam rubber sponge cake. I had been set up, but then they brought a real cake out to eat.
Many Winter Texans Enjoy Square Dancing, it is a dance where each move is called, you dance in a group of four couples, a square. There is always someone to pull me into the correct position. The calls are always in English, and Western-style square dancing is considered the official folk dance of America. In RV parks in the RGV and across the southern USA many winter visitors enjoy the fun and laughter together with the social experience of square dancing. The mental and physical benefits of square dancing are a bonus.
Take Your Partner by the Right, Linda handed Susanna her phone, after placing a video call to Michelle. The stranger on the dance floor was a stranger no more.